Meet Leah! Leah works in international development and loves the simple things in life like peanut butter on toast (yum) and long walks on a nice day. Click the link in bio to find out what. Read the full interview to find out what Leah’s dream job is, her favorite Jewish tradition, and her go-to spots in DC.
Hannah: What brought you to DC?
Leah: I knew in high school that I wanted to study international affairs. I thought if I’m going to study international affairs, I have to be in DC. I ended up going to GW and then I stayed because I love DC. It’s my favorite city.
Hannah: Could you describe your dream day in the DMV from start to finish?
Leah: I would start with brunch because I think DC is one of the best cities for brunch. I really like Agora and Ala because they do bottomless food. After brunch I would go to a museum. I love the Hirshhorn and whenever people come to visit me, I usually bring them there. Then I’d have a picnic on the Mall for lunch. Later I would take a walk with my dog, and then do dinner at The Wharf to finish up the day.
Hannah: What is one thing that you can’t get through the day without?
Leah: Some sort of exercise. Exercising gives me a lot of energy. And now that it’s nice outside I like to go on walks.
Hannah: So you said that you studied International Relations? What do you do for work now?
Leah: I work in international development at the International Republican Institute. It’s a nonpartisan nonprofit organization that promotes democracy, human rights, and governance. Right now I mostly work on projects related to Bangladesh and some related to youth and women’s empowerment. We’re also working on stopping student violence during elections. It’s exactly what I wanted to be doing out of college. I realized I had a really big passion for helping people exercise their rights.
Hannah: What’s your absolute dream job?
Leah: There’s a part of development which involves monitoring and evaluation and using data to assess whether or not our projects are effective. That’s the part of development I really want to work in. My dream job would be the director of a monitoring and evaluation division at an international development organization.
Hannah: If you could learn one new personal skill this year what would it be?
Leah: This isn’t a new thing but I took Mandarin in college and I’ve lost it significantly because I haven’t used it in almost a year. It would be my dream to learn Mandarin and get really good at speaking it. I think it’s really cool to know foreign languages and I think it would be beneficial to me both professionally and personally.
Hannah: Have you picked up any pandemic hobbies?
Leah: Yes! My mom and grandma are both great crafters. When I got sent home from my study abroad in South Africa because of COVID, I ended up learning how to embroider. My mom thought I would really like it and ever since she taught me I’ve really enjoyed embroidery.
Hannah: How do you connect with your Jewish identity and or the Jewish community?
Leah: I went to a Jewish summer camp for seven years, so I have a large group of friends from camp and we have a lot of traditions together. We stay in touch regularly and I’ve had them come over for various Jewish holidays.
Hannah: Do you have a favorite Jewish tradition?
Leah: I always liked finding the afikoman during Passover [Editor’s Note: the afikoman is a piece of matzah that is broken during the Passover Seder and saved (oftentimes hidden) for the end of the meal]. It’s so fun and feels like a little hunt.
Hannah: What would you consider your simple pleasures?
Leah: Peanut butter on toast. Chocolate rice crackers. And really nice weather outside.
Hannah: What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
Leah: My parents always encouraged me to go for whatever I wanted to achieve. Whether that was a job or an academic opportunity I was always encouraged to put my all into trying and have no shame in failing.
Hannah: Last but not least – Complete this sentence: When the Jews of DC gather…
Leah: You run into someone who knows someone that went to summer camp with you.
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